E-pharmacy grew 2.5 times in lockdown: FICCI

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Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey releasing FICCI white paper

The Covid-19 lockdown has seen a 2.5 times growth in the number of households using online pharmacy services, said a white paper released by FICCI.

Earlier, the online pharmacy firms were facing major resistance from the government, including a complete ban, it said.

The government has also softened its stand that the model can work effectively with the Government's Common Services Centres (CSC) aimed at improving access to essential healthcare facilities in rural India.

The sector will be able to tap approximately 70 million households by 2025, FICCI estimated in a white paper titled 'E-pharmacies at covid-19 Frontline: Fighting the Odds, Serving the Nation'.

Releasing the paper, Union minister of state for health, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, said, “The overall essence of these circumstances is that during the covid-19 epidemic, the importance of technology and digital infrastructure to deliver affordable and quality medicines and health services to consumers across the country has clearly emerged."

He stated, “Pharmacy services through e-commerce have been notified by the Union Home Ministry as essential services during Covid- 19."

The FICCI paper stated that there has been a shift in demand for at home access to medicines during the covid-19 pandemic.

“We were able to serve over 9 million households during the time of covid-19 where access to any other service was very difficult," said Prashant Tandon, Chairperson, FICCI e-pharmacy working group, and co-founder, 1mg.

“We actively ensured that all the challenges and supply chain issues that the country was facing should not come in the way of access to medicines and we accelerated our investments in logistics to ensure enhanced efficiency of our systems," he said.


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